And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. (Mat 16:19 – KJV)
We often hear people pray, “I bind the devil.” Or they may say, “I bind the spirit of doubt, or the spirit of alcoholism…” (or a spirit of anything and everything).
A tearful woman sought my counsel. She said, “I keep binding and binding the devil but he keeps getting loose. What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I bind the devil? Do I have a hidden sin in my life?”
I said, “Lady, that’s not how this works. You’ve been taught wrong.” Then, I taught her the truth about binding and loosing.
Can we Bind, Shackle, Incarcerate, or Immobilize the Devil?
I once heard a man at a large convention, who got excited and went over the top during the opening prayer. He shouted, “I bind thee Satan, thou prince of darkness, with fetters of iron, and I cast thee into the lowest hell!”
Really? According to the word (2 Pe 2:4 and Jude 1:6), God is the One who binds fallen angels. Plus, the scripture says, “…with chains of darkness,” not chains of iron.
In truth, the devil is roaming the earth, freely. Here are three proofs:
Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil… walketh about, seeking whom he may devour. (1 Pe 5:8)
When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out. (Luke 11:24)
And the Lord said unto Satan, from whence cometh thou? Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, from going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. (Job 2:2)
Binding and Loosing are Legal Terms
Look at Mat 16:19 in the Amplified Bible:
I will give you the keys (authority) of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind [forbid, declare to be improper and unlawful] on earth will have [already] been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose [permit, declare lawful] on earth will have [already] been loosed in heaven.
Jesus is referring to our covenant or contractual rights. Why do many people say, “I bind thee Satan?” Well, it’s easy. They don’t have to study the bible. They have a catch-all phrase.
Maybe people want a magic incantation like the medieval charm, “Abracadabra!”
What happens when we say, “I bind thee?”
“I bind thee” is an incomplete, introductory phrase. It’s an antecedent. What follows the antecedent is the important part.
You would think I was silly if I repeatedly said, “I pray… I pray… I pray…” but I never actually prayed.
Likewise, people say, “I bind… I bind… I bind…” but they don’t say the important part that follows the antecedent.
Here’s the correct pattern for binding and loosing: “According to my New Covenant, rights, it is written, ‘I have authority over all the power of the enemy and nothing shall by any means hurt you [me].’ ”
Have you ever seen an example of Jesus saying, “I bind thee?” No!
Did the Apostle Paul use that phrase? No!
Did anyone, anywhere in the Bible, use that phrase? No!
(I know what you’re thinking… But what about binding the strong man? I’ll explain that in Part Two.)
Where did the common practice of binding loosing come from? Most likely from the devil. It’s as if the devil gave the church a toy gun that only shoots blanks, like a cap pistol, and said, “Here use this against me. It will really hurt me (Wink-wink! Nod-nod!).”
Don’t be upset with me for taking away your toy gun. I’m going to exchange it for a real weapon.
Try looking at the principle of binding and loosing as though you were in a court of law arguing a case before the Judge:
“Your honor, I have read the contract, and the accuser, the Party of the Second Part, owes me money which he has refused to pay. According to the contract (page number, clause, and item), he is bound to the terms of the contract. Your honor, this court must not and shall not loose my accuser from his obligations, and he shall remain bound by this contract.”
Do you get it?
Do as The Master Did
Now watch how Jesus applied the principle of binding and loosing:
And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
But He answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. (Mat 4:3-4)
Jesus did not say, “I bind thee, Spirit of temptation.”
No! He said, “It is written…” Jesus then cited the applicable article.
An article is a separate and distinct part of a written instrument. Jesus used the specific scripture that applied to that specific issue (no catchall phrase or hocus-pocuss).
The devil struck at Jesus a second time:
…the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.
Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. (Mat 4:5-7)
Jesus didn’t say, “I bind thee, thou daredevil spirit.” No! He said, “It is written…”
The devil struck at Jesus a third time:
Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.
Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. (Mat 4:8-10)
How long did that go on? No doubt, there were more than three temptations.
The writer of Hebrews said, Jesus was “…in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” (Heb 4:15)
The Bible indicates the temptations of Jesus by Satan went further:
And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season. (Luke 4:13)
Notice, the devil departed for a season. Throughout Jesus’ ministry on earth, He had to deal with a devil who was free to walk to and fro in the earth.
How Do You Apply This Principle?
It’s okay to say, “I bind you…,” if the antecedent is followed with “It is written…,” and then followed by what is written, exactly as it is written.
Always use a specific scripture and verse that exactly addresses the issue at hand.
But you protest, “But I can’t remember the verses. I haven’t memorized the Bible.”
You don’t have to rely on memory. You just need to know how to read. Use your concordance. Look up some scriptures, pick the one that seems best, and use that one.
You can say it this way, for example, “It is written, in James 4:7, ‘Resist the devil and he will flee from you.’ That’s binding. Now go!”
(1) Binding refers to what is unlawful.
(2) Loosing refers to what is lawful.
(3) Heaven backs up the Word of God.
(4) Satan must obey the Word of God, but he can get around it if he can trick people into using a nonsense phrase.
(5) Find a scripture that specifically applies to the specific temptation. Then speak it aloud, with authority.
Coming soon: Part Two – Binding the Strong Man
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